How separated parents can use technology to manage a child’s busy schedule
With the new academic year now upon us, it may be a difficult time for many parents trying to juggle work with pick-up and drop-off from school or nursery. That’s without factoring in extra-curricular activities such as swimming, Brownies, football and music lessons.
Some parents may also face the added complexity of being separated and are therefore required to organise family life across different households. Children’s (and parents’!) ever-changing schedules can therefore make it seem as if a personal assistant is needed to arrange and organise each and every week. A personal assistant is unlikely to be a viable option for most families. However, there are now several apps for your mobile phone or tablet which can go a significant way to assisting you with making arrangements for, and communicating with, your ex-partner about, the children.
For example, the app Our Family Wizard was created by a divorced couple who wanted to try and communicate better with one another regarding their children. This platform logs the communication between parents to ensure accurate record-keeping as to who said what and when. Third parties such as grandparents or additional caregivers can be added. Such logs are downloadable and could be used in court proceedings, should that be necessary.
Our Family Wizard also includes a “Tone-Meter”. This Tone-Meter works much like a spellchecker in that it reviews what has been written and provides alternative suggestions to be used where it deems that the current wording is negative, inflammatory, etc.
Another app to consider is WeParent which allows parents to manage a calendar, and expenses and to share documents that may require to be read and/or signed by each parent.
The Cozi app has several shareable features including a calendar, to-do list and photo albums – for those moments both parents want to remember.
Such apps have risen in popularity in recent times, and have even been endorsed by Sheriff Principal Anwar. Her recent guidance stated that the judiciary has been made aware of such apps and that they could be utilised in cases involving a crave for a section 11 order for contact/residence under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.
While these apps may assist many parents in reducing conflict and assist those navigating through difficult times, we’re acutely aware that for some it won’t be enough.
Where that is the case, legal advice should be sought from one of our family law specialists as soon as possible to ensure that the correct steps are taken swiftly.
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